19 April 2021

Music Monday: Lang Belta Edition

Okay, with this edition of Music Monday, I am going to have to admit to something. In all of my love of all things "classic rock," I have somehow overlooked Deep Purple. So when I heard this on the Expanse, I had no idea it wasn't an original song. I was thrilled to find some examples of the Belter Creole in music because that has always helped me learn phrases in other spoken languages. I'm sharing this version with you because I was writing a scene for the Camp Nano WIP recently and this song came on the playlist...and this cinematic explosion happened in my head. I just sat back and let it unfold and then wrote up the incident report. Enjoy.


Highway Star, Belter Version

By Corey Todd


Namang na gonya take my ship
Mi gonya race it til I’m gush
Namang na gonya beat my ship
I’m gonya bek da fash da lush
Oooh I’m a killing machine
I’m ta ge kowlting
Lik wa Epstein drive
All that thrust don’t take nating

Mi love ya, mi need to
Belówt to ya
Ya I’m wa wild komante
Nafet, Hold tet
Mi wa highway star

Namang na gonya take my girl
Mi gonya hold im fing da end
Namang na gonya take my girl
She stay kosh wit kowl da bend
Oooh I’m a killing machine
Ta ge kowlting
Lik wa bush im move
Bush control don’t take nating

Mi love ya, mi need to
Mi se wa e
Ya im du mi gut
Nafet, Hold on tet
Mi wa highway star


Namang na gonya take my head
Mi take bik sa e’er da ting
Namang na gonya take my head
Mi gonya bi kuku adzheng
Oooh mi in heaven wadzheng
Mi ta ge kowlting
Lik wa ting fo lowsh
An open line don’t takе nating

Mi love ya, mi need to
Belówt to ya
Ya I’m wa wild komante
Nafеt, Hold tet
Mi wa highway star

Namang na gonya take my ship
Mi gonya race it til I’m gush
Namang na gonya beat my ship
Mi gonya bek da fash da lush
Oooh I’m a killing machine
I’m ta ge kowlting
Lik wa Epstein Drive
All that thrust don’t take nating

Mi love ya, mi need to
Belówt *to *ya
Ya I’m wa wild komante
Nafet, Hold tet
Mi wa highway star
Mi wa highway star
Mi wa highway star

12 April 2021

Music Monday: Tairn's Playlist

Not to be confused with Zoey's...this is the playlist for this month's Camp Nanowrimo, which will hopefully produce something ready for edits at the end and not just a third rewrite. I am really feeling Tairn this time, to the point that when certain songs come on I can almost see her. I won't tell you which songs at this point, and some of these may be familiar from previous Music Mondays. Here is the music that is fueling me this month. Enjoy.


I know that I usually post lyrics in an effort to be accessible and I can't, really, but here is the list in case you are inspired to go look up the songs for the lyrics  Thanks for enjoying music with me.

Fortunate Son - CCR
For What it's Worth - Buffalo Springfield 
Logical Song - Supertramp
Somebody to Love - Jefferson Airplane
Where Have all the Cowboys Gone - Paula Cole
Come to My Window - Melissa Etheridge
Least Complicated - Indigo Girls
Possession - Sarah McLachlan
All I Wanna Do - Sheryl Crow
What I Am - Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
Because the Night - 10,000 Maniacs
Just A Girl - No Doubt
Cannonball - The Breeders
Naked Eye - Luscious Jackson
Seether - Veruca Salt
Eye of the Storm - Watt White
Hell No - Ingrid Michaelson
Pierre - Ryn Weaver
Kyrie - Mr. Mister
Welcome Home, Son - Radical Face
Sometimes I - Rising Appalachia
I Miss the Misery - Halestorm
The Thunder Rolls - State of Mine, No Resolve
Alive - Daughtry
People Like Us - Kelly Clarkson
Humans Being - Van Halen
Leave Her Wild - Tyler Rich
Can't Find My Way Home - Blind Faith
Highway Star, Belter Version - Cory Todd
From Now On - Zac Brown Band
Unsteady - X Ambassadors
Times Like These, BBC Radio 1 Stay Home Live Lounge - Live Lounge Allstars
Ashes the Rain and I - James Gang
Sky Blue and Black - Jackson Browne
Immortals - Fall Out Boy
Gimme Shelter (feat. Lzzy Hale) - Stone Sour, Lzzy Hale
Love Remains the Same - Gavin Rossdale
The Light - Disturbed
Could Have Been Me - The Struts
Arcade - Duncan Laurence
Traveling Song - Ryn Weaver
Take it Off Remix - Kesha
Midnight Rider - Allman Brothers Band
Someone to You - BANNERS
Blue Sky - Allman Brothers Band
Human - Rag'n'Bone Man
Our Lips are Sealed - The Go-Go's
We Got the Beat - The Go-Go's
Head Over Heels - The Go-Go's

08 April 2021

Notes from Exile: Light at the End of the Pandemic

My tiny studio - cluttered. It's a metaphor, I swear.

Well, y'all remember the post about vaccines, right? All 'I'm determining my own path' and 'Don't @ me for waiting for the one-shot vaccine!' Yeah, so...that isn't how it turned out. The DayJob™ let us know that because...reasons, we were going to return to the workplace prior to the end of the semester. Suddenly, I got worried about having to go back to an office that I share with someone, figuring out a bus pass, being in a classroom again with germy students, etc...and I remembered that I took a survey last year that said if my Employer offered a vaccine or a path to an appointment I would be interested.

Well of course I said that. Y'all, I am the epitome of a team player. Stop laughing.

Anyway, the very day I made my first appointment to join House Moderna (long may Saint Dolly walk this earth and make our lives better) I found out that if you are waiting on a first appointment date or in-between appointments you don't have to return to the workplace until you are fully vaccinated. The universe provides, y'all. My first jab was on 30 March, the second will be on 27 April, and I will be two weeks clear and able to 'return to the workplace' on 11 May. That is the second day of my summer break. So...

Now, I do have to work at least one major event for The DayJob™ in person before 11 May, but with two doses in my body and a good mask, I should be all right. Goodbye to the tiny studio I've created in the office I share with my dogs. Goodbye to shaky zoom classes and even shakier internet connections. 

So are we seeing the light at the end? Is this awful 'only a few weeks' turned '13 months of canceled plans, constant worry, and inability to feel at all okay' almost over? I hope so. I have a con to attend as a guest author, at least one book release, and autumn of Rennie life to look forward to if so. But you will still see me wearing a mask and keeping a distance, even if things do return to 'normal,' whatever that looks like. At least in the beginning.

Get vaccinated. Do your part. I will see you in the sunshine outside this tunnel.

05 April 2021

Music Monday: Back to Tairn, again

So this is another Camp Nano month - and like others, the rules aren't quite as strict. As a result, I'm working on a re-write of my second novel in the Guardians of Orana series, Red. This is the story of Tairneanach, a secondary character and minor villain in the Nature Walker Trilogy. She is arguably my favorite character in the world of Orana, and I'm determined to get her right. Tairn has a great story to tell, but she also has an addiction to misery and pain - and this book is going to investigate why. So this song by Halestorm is just perfect for her. She doesn't miss Taeben, not exactly...



I Miss the Misery
by Halestorm

Oh, I miss the misery

I've been a mess since you stayed
I've been a wreck since you changed
Don't let me get in your way
I miss the lies and the pain
The fights that keep us awake
I'm telling you

I miss the bad things
The way you hate me
I miss the screaming
The way that you blame me
Miss the phone calls
When it's your fault
I miss the late nights
Don't miss you at all
I like the kick in the face
And the things you do to me
I love the way that it hurts
I don't miss you, I miss the misery

I've tried but I just can't take it
I'd rather fight than just fake it ('cause I like it rough)
You know that I've had enough
I dare ya to call my bluff
Can't take too much of a good thing
I'm telling you

I miss the bad things
The way you hate me
I miss the screaming
The way that you blame me
Miss the phone calls
When it's your fault
I miss the late nights
Don't miss you at all
I like the kick in the face
And the things you do to me
I love the way that it hurts
I don't miss you, I miss the misery

Just know that I'll make you hurt
(I miss the lies and the pain what you did to me)
When you tell me you'll make it worse
(I'd rather fight all night than watch the TV)
I hate that feeling inside
You tell me how hard you'll try
But when we're at our worst
I miss the misery

I miss the bad things
The way you hate me
I miss the screaming
The way that you blame me
I miss the rough sex
Leaves me a mess
I miss the feeling of pains in my chest
Miss the phone calls
When it's your fault
I miss the late nights
Don't miss you at all
I like the kick in the face
And the things you do to me
I love the way that it hurts

I don't miss you, I miss the misery
I don't miss you, I miss the misery
I don't miss you, I miss the misery

29 March 2021

Music Monday: Almost time for Nano again...almost.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, I have no idea what I'm working on come Thursday of this week. Truth be told, I may not start until the weekend because I get my first Fauci Ouchie on Tuesday and officially join House Moderna (may the Sainted Mother Dolly's name always be praised). So enjoy this tune that I came across on TikTok that may play into Tairn's story...but also may not. It's anything can happen Monday! 




Pierre, by Ryn Weaver

I danced in the desert, in the pouring rain
Drank with the devil and forgot my name
Woke with somebody when the morning came
No one there to shame me for my youth
'Cause I wouldn't be with you

And then I found me a lover who could play the bass
He's kinda quiet, but his body ain't
Spend the days dreaming and the nights awake
Doin' things we know we shouldn't do
'Cause I wouldn't be with you

Says he can't believe he found me
Wraps his arms around me
Yeah-eah, eah-eah-eah-yeah

I can't let him in
You call me up and ask me how I've been
I'll call your bluff and
Keep on telling, telling, telling you lies
Keep on telling, telling, telling you lies
No, I can't let him in
You play me rough, but I won't let you in
So, call my bluff, I'll
Keep on telling, telling, telling you lies
Keep on telling, telling, telling you lies

Oh, count down to the day they may come true

And I fell for a vagabond, a month at tops
Lied and said his bike was in the "motor shop
Drove my car once and made the tire pop
Still we had some fun, till I came to
'Cause I wouldn't be with you

On the Fourth of July, I met a man, Pierre
Lied about his age, but I didn't care
Spoke in broken English but the heart was there
In those eyes of sky and ocean blue
'Cause I wouldn't be with you

Says he can't believe he found me
Wraps his arms around me
Yeah-eah, eah-eah-eah-yeah
I can't let him in
You call me up and ask me how I've been
I'll call your bluff and
Keep on telling, telling, telling you lies
Keep on telling, telling, telling you lies
No, I can't let them in
You play me rough, but I won't let you in
So, call my bluff, I'll
Keep on telling, telling, telling you lies
Keep on telling, telling, telling you lies

Oh, count down to the day they may come true

I'm counting dow-ow-ow-ow-own
I'm still so dow-ow-ow-ow-own
I'll come around

22 March 2021

Music Monday: That Pirate Thing

 Yeah, I'm on Tiktok and yeah, I'm loving the whole sea shanty trend. But I'm also loving other trends, like the #birates trend that involves the intersection of LGBTQ+ folx and pirate cosplay. Whew. The pirate cosplay game is strong, and I came across today's Music Monday through a few cosplayers who are acting out bits from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean...I guess? (I've only seen two of them, don't come at me!) 

The video is of the Tiktok creator Colum McGuiness's version and it is haunting. The original is by Hans Zimmer, one of the RULERS of movie soundtracks, and it's got me thinking about "thieves and beggars" that "never shall we die" in terms of the Wraiths of Appalachia WIP. I just need to get all that out of my system before April, right? Enjoy.



Hoist the Colors

by Hans Zimmer

The King and his men
stole the Queen from her bed
and bound her in her bones
the seas be ours and beyond the powers
where we will we'll roam

Yo ho, all hands
Hoist the colors high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars
Never shall we die

Yo ho, haul together
Hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars
Never shall we die

Yo ho, haul together
Hoist the colors high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars
Never shall we die

Yo ho, haul together
Hoist the colors high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars
Never shall we die


16 March 2021

Notes from Exile: On Choices and Vaccines

Before I go any further, I want to say that I am not anti-vaccine. I completely agree with the science, I'm a big fan of Dr. Fauci, and I know that this is the best way to get this beast under control so that we can all have a life again. It feels like we finally have some direction here in the US, and that is an amazing relief.

But there is one thing you should know about me. I have, as I have explained recently on social media, a near consciousness-losing fear of needles. I have been watching all the news reports about the vaccine and forcing myself to watch the actual injections and it is getting better, but not anywhere near resolved. 

Fun Fact the First: I once went on vacation with Starter Husband and his family and he got very dehydrated and ended up in the emergency room. Since that was in the Before Times, I went in with him and was there the whole time until they had to run an IV for hydration. I had to leave the room. 

Fun Fact the Second: I was interpreting once for a mammogram to pinpoint (ha, that was an interesting choice of words) the place for a biopsy, and when they gave the deaf client a shot to NUMB the area I got swimmy headed. When they inserted the needle for the biopsy the nurse came and asked me if I needed to sit down or have some water because apparently "that shade of greenish-gray comes on you right before you faint, sugar."

That, mind you, was in response to someone else having a needle inserted into their skin, not me.

So, I have been preparing myself for months for this two-step vaccine, understanding that it will require me to go ON PURPOSE and REQUEST two injections. (I can feel all of you rolling your eyes, it must be nice not to be afraid of anything, moving on...) Then I heard the best thing I've heard since "we have a vaccine," and that was "the Janssen/J&J vaccine is only one injection." One and done, y'all. ONE.

Apparently here in SC, this particular vaccine is available via CVS, so I've been camping out on their website. Right now when the unicorn of an open appointment time appears it is still reading as a Moderna injection, which is two-step, and not the fun Texas kind. So I wait.

And I wait. And I watch. And...I am ridiculed and teased. For making an adult choice (getting the vaccine) and having patience (staying in relative isolation) for my turn to come. I don't have to go to a workplace any time soon. I don't have parents that I miss hugging. I can wait - and I am being responsible about it, and those folks that want to tease me about my fear or guilt me into doing something other than what feels right to me...well, I don't know what to tell you other than you aren't going to change my mind.

I am not paranoid. I am not a hermit. I am not anti-social (well, no more than I was). I am not unfriendly, cold, or childish. I am not most of the hurtful things that I've heard about myself over the last year. So please be kind to those of us planning vacations and visits and generally time AWAY from our homes who are choosing to do what we feel is right and not running headlong into two injections - it is okay for us to wait, at home, isolated and safe.

15 March 2021

Music Monday: Sometimes you just need a good drum

 So this song has just turned up in my Shazam, and if I had to guess I would say it's from one of the myriad of programs that we've been binge-watching during the pandemic. No idea which one. It could also be from Tiktok, considering the overabundance of sea shanties and the like over there lately. 

The lyrics spoke to me about my MC, Scarlet, and I could imagine her Mamó singing this song to her on the front porch of the cabin up in the mountains. But the drums...sometimes you just need a good drum. Enjoy.

Little Margaret by Rhiannon Giddens

Little Margaret, sitting in her high hall chair
Combing back her long, yellow hair
Saw sweet William and his new-made bride
Riding up the road so near

She threw down her ivory comb
Threw back her long yellow hair
Said, "I'll go down and I'll bid him farewell
And I'll nevermore go there"

It was late in the night
They were fast asleep
Little Margaret appeared all dressed in white
Standing at their bed-feet

Saying, "How do you like your snow-white pillow?"
"How do you like your sheet?"
Saying, "How do you like that pretty fair maid
Who lays in your arms asleep?"

Very well do I like my snow-white pillow
Well do I like my sheet
Much better do I like that pretty fair maid
Who stands at my bed-feet

He called his serving man to go
And saddled the dappled roan
And he rode for her father's house that night
Knocked on the door alone

Saying, "Is Little Margaret in her room
Or is she in the hall?"
"Little Margaret's in her coal-black coffin
With her face turned toward the wall"

Unfold, unfold those snow-white robes
Be they ever so fine
For I want to kiss those cold, cold lips
For I know they'll never kiss mine

Three times he kissed her cold, cold hand
Twice he kissed her cheek
But once he kissed her cold cold lips
Then he fell in her arms asleep

08 March 2021

Music Monday: Still alive, mostly

So I'm still working on Tairn's novel and still enjoying getting to know the different parts of her that made her who she was in the Nature Walker Trilogy as well as seeing how those parts fit together to make her who she is becoming in her own story. This song has so much of Tairn in it - her full name, Tairneanach, means thunderous in Scots Gaelic after all.


Alive
by Daughtry

I was born in a thunderstorm
I grew up overnight
I played alone
I played on my own
But I survived

Hey
I wanted everything I never had
Like the love that comes with light
I wore envy and I hated that
But I survived

I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don't change
And nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope, just lies
And you're taught to cry into your pillow
But I survived

I'm still breathing, I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing, I'm still breathing
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive

I found solace in the strangest place
Way in the back of my mind
I saw my life in a stranger's face
And it was mine

I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don't change
And nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope, just lies
And you're taught to cry into your pillow
But I survived

But I'm still breathing, I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing, I'm still breathing
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive

You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing

I have made every single mistake
That you could ever possibly make
I took and I took and I took what you gave
But you never noticed that I was in pain
I knew what I wanted, I went out and got it
I did all the things that you said that I wouldn't
I told you that I would never be forgotten
And all in spite of you

And I'm still breathing, I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing, I'm still breathing
I'm alive (You took it all, but I'm still breathing)
(You took it all, but I'm still breathing)
I'm alive (You took it all, but I'm still breathing)
(You took it all, but I'm still breathing)
I'm alive (You took it all, but I'm still breathing)
(You took it all, but I'm still breathing)

I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive

01 March 2021

Music Monday: No Rest for the Wicked

 I'm starting to plan my projects for the next few months (because let's be honest, I've been coasting since the holidays), specifically for Camp Nanowrimo next month, and I'm thinking of a second draft for Tairn's story in Red and possibly a new Arcstone. As always, I'm working with any inspiration I can find, and this oldie from my days of walking the many hills in Athens, GA working freelance gigs popped up in my playlist - and it works for either of those stories. Tairn thinks she is wicked and Val CERTAINLY is, so I'm still left with a decision. Anyone got a quarter I can flip?




Ain't No Rest for the Wicked
by Cage the Elephant

(He was a)
(You know it)
(He was a)

I was walkin' down the street
When out the corner of my eye
I saw a pretty little thing approaching me
She said, "I never seen a man
Who looked so all alone
Oh, could you use a little company?

And if you pay the right price
Your evening will be nice
And you can go and send me on my way"
I said, "You're such a sweet young thing
Why you do this to yourself?"
She looked at me and this is what she said

"Oh, there ain't no rest for the wicked
Money don't grow on trees
I got bills to pay
I got mouths to feed
And ain't nothing in this world for free
Oh no, I can't slow down
I can't hold back
Though you know I wish I could
Oh, no, there ain't no rest for the wicked
Until we close our eyes for good"

Not even 15 minutes later
I'm still walkin' down the street
When I saw the shadow of a man creep out of sight
And then he swept up from behind
He put a gun up to my head
He made it clear he wasn't lookin' for a fight

He said, "Give me all you got
I want your money not your life
But if you try to make a move I won't think twice"
I told him, "You can have my cash
But first you know I gotta ask
What made you wanna live this kind of life?"
He said

"There ain't no rest for the wicked
Money don't grow on trees
I got bills to pay
I got mouths to feed
And ain't nothing in this world for free
No, I can't slow down
I can't hold back
Though you know I wish I could
Oh, no, there ain't no rest for the wicked
Until we close our eyes for good"

Well, now a couple hours passed
And I was sitting in my house
The day was winding down and coming to an end
So I turned to the TV
And flipped it over to the news
And what I saw I almost couldn't comprehend

I saw a preacher man in cuffs
He'd taken money from the church
He'd stuffed his bank account with righteous dollar bills
But even still I can't say much
Because I know we're all the same
Oh, yes we all seek out to satisfy those thrills

You know there ain't no rest for the wicked
Money don't grow on trees
We got bills to pay
We got mouths to feed
And ain't nothing in this world for free
No we can't slow down
We can't hold back
Though you know we wish we could
No there ain't no rest for the wicked
Until we close our eyes for good

22 February 2021

Music Monday: Life in (Semi) Lockdown

I'm going to make a slight departure from my normal Music Monday post to tell you about a song that you just need to hear. If you aren't familiar with British artists, this may go over your head without the video to watch (it does for me when I just listen to it) because like the ever famous We are the World and Band-Aid compilations, there are almost more artists here than you can follow. But this should be the official lockdown/pandemic theme song, and it is just good stuff. Like those hugs that we all still look forward to getting. Enjoy.




Times Like These 
(BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge All-Stars/Foo Fighters)

One, two, three, four
I, I'm a one way motorway
I'm the one that drives away
Then follows you back home

And I, I'm a street light shining
I'm a wild light blinding bright
Burning off alone

It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these we give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these, time and time again

I, I'm a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight

I, I'm a little divided
Do I stay or run away
And leave it all behind?

It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these, time and time again

Let's go
It's times like these that we activate
Do something to improve, don't procrastinate
I've been cooking now make a wicked pasta bake
Stream games at 11 but I clap at 8

And I'll do a facetime if you tempt me
Time to pay back with all the health docs lent me
And for me west ten's elementary
But right now I wanna see ladbroke grove empty
You get me?

We make it better together we'll make a better life
Because the pressure is ever upon us every night
And everyday so we pray and we will forever fight
We'll make it better together, we'll make a better life

I, I'm a one way motorway
I'm the one that drives away
Then follows you back home

I, I'm a street light shining
I'm a wild light blinding bright
Burning off alone

It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again

It's times like these, time and time again
It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you learn to love again

15 February 2021

Music Monday: Wishing Well

I'm going in a slightly different direction this Music Monday and introducing you to a band that I first discovered on TikTok (I'm one of those old ladies now, it seems) and have since found matches a lot of what I look for in writing music. The first song I found by The Dead South was In Hell I'll Be in Good Company, but then I found this little gem and it speaks to me in reference to the Appalachian project I'm working on - and not just because these fellas are amazing on traditional instruments like banjos. Now, which of the Wraiths are speaking to me through this song?



"Wishing Well"
by The Dead South

So sweet so genuine.
I bet you taste like sweet cherry pie.
So gorgeous every man's jaw drops.
When will you choose my straw.

So I find you put flowers to shame.
You've got all the guys playing your game.
In the moonlight I will ask you to dance.
Will you let me taste sweet romance.

I throw my penny into the wishing well.
What that wish was I will never tell.
Can I be by your side at night?
Can I be your everlasting light.

I will be your warrior.
I'll be the one who takes care of you.
Just let me know when shit get tight.
Oh baby please just let me ignite.

I'll be the one to control disease.
I'll change the weather anytime you please.
Everyone will know your name if you please just be my queen.

I throw my faith into the wishing well.
What that wish was I will never tell.
Can I be by your side at night?
Can I be your everlasting light.

I throw my fate into that wishing well.
I pray to god that I don't go to hell.
No no no...

I throw my fate into that wishing well.
I pray to god that I don't go to hell.
No no no...

I throw my fate into that wishing well.
I pray to god that I don't go to hell.
No no no...

I throw my penny into the wishing well.
What that wish was I will never tell.
Can I be by your side at night?
Can I be your everlasting light.
Can I be your everlasting light.

11 February 2021

In which I get fancy and then throw Gin off something...

 The length of the aptly titled Very Short Story catches me out every time. I had a whole post in my head with lengthy and, if I do say so myself, literary comparisons between a sunrise and Sath's fur, and then suddenly I didn't have enough characters left and...well, this happened:


08 February 2021

Music Monday: Yep, I'm THAT Supernatural Fan...

 So...2021 feels a bit like a repeat of 2020 so far, right? At least we didn't wake up to THIS on January 1st.  #IYKYK



Heat of the Moment
by Asia

I never meant to be so bad to you
One thing I said that I would never do
A look from you and I would fall from grace
And that would wipe the smile right from my face

Do you remember when we used to dance
And incidents arose from circumstance
One thing led to another we were young
And we would scream together songs unsung

It was the heat of the moment
Telling me what my heart meant
The heat of the moment showed in your eyes

And now you find yourself in '82
The disco hot spots hold no charm for you
You can concern yourself with bigger things
You catch a pearl and ride the dragon's wings

'Cause it's the heat of the moment
The heat of the moment
The heat of the moment
The heat of the moment showed in your eyes

And when your looks are gone and you're alone
How many nights you sit beside the phone
What were the things you wanted for yourself
Teenage ambitions you remember well

It was the heat of the moment
Telling me what your heart meant
The heat of the moment showed in your eyes

It was the heat of the moment
The heat of the moment
The heat of the moment showed in your eyes

Heat of the moment
Heat of the moment
Heat of the moment
Heat of the moment...

03 February 2021

Sometimes I fancy myself a writer of space operas...

 And when I do, this happens over on Twitter for #vsspic: 

01 February 2021

Music Monday: Welcome Home, Scarlet.

Back in November, I was working on a piece that was supposed to be a ghost story based on my experiences at a small college in the mountains of North Georgia. As predicted, though, by anyone that knows me, it turned into a weird paranormal mythology-influenced story...with a wolfhound. There are bits of my original idea still there: a girl grows up steeped in her family's legacy and duty, taking care of the old gods of the mountains to keep them from swarming down into the human population and causing havoc. So I'm going to let that biz ruminate for a while. 

I worked on a cover for the book because apparently, I have flipped the normal process for writing and need to have the cover ready for a manuscript that may or may not be written. As I was getting it ready to put on Tiktok (because I'm one of those middle-aged women authors that discovered the app during the pandemic) I found a song that I thought was perfect for the little 60-second cover reveal: Welcome Home, Son by Radical Face. It is very much like my main character, Scarlet: sweet-sounding and cozy on the outside but a hot mess on the inside. Enjoy.



Welcome Home, Son
by Radical Face

Sleep don't visit, so I choke on sun
And the days blur into one
And the backs of my eyes hum with things I've never done

Sheets are swaying from an old clothesline
Like a row of captured ghosts, over old dead grass
Was never much, but we made the most
Welcome home

Ships are launching from my chest
Some have names, but most do not
If you find one, please
Let me know what piece I've lost

Peel the scars from off my back
I don't need them anymore
You can throw them out
Or keep them in your mason jars
I've come home

All my nightmares escaped my head
Bar the door, please don't let them in
You were never supposed to leave
Now my head's splitting at the seams
And I don't know if I can...

Here beneath my lungs
I feel your thumbs press into my skin again

25 January 2021

Music Monday: Of Poetry and Prose...It's a Trap!

This song is what it's like to be a writer. Those of you that know me in real life have NO IDEA how many times I have used your voices, your gestures, your attitudes, and sometimes your words to bring my characters to life. And instead of thinking of that as creepy, think of the gift of immortality I've given you! "I have written you down/Now you will live forever."

There have only been a few that I have written down in the way that Bastille describes in the song. I promise. No? Still creepy? It's a cool song, anyway...


 

Obsession, it takes control
Obsession, it eats me whole
I can't say the words out loud
So in a rhyme I wrote you down
Now you'll live through the ages
I can feel your pulse in the pages

I have written you down
Now you will live forever
And all the world will read you
And you will live forever

In eyes not yet created
On tongues that are not born
I have written you down
Now you will live forever

Your body lies upon the sheets
Of paper in words so sweet
I can't say the words
So I wrote you into my verse
Now you'll live through the ages
I can feel your pulse in the pages

I have written you down
Now you will live forever
And all the world will read you
And you will live forever

In eyes not yet created
On tongues that are not born
I have written you down
Now you will live forever

I have read her with these eyes
I've read her with these eyes
I have held her in these hands

I have written you down
Now you will live forever
The virtue's in the verse
And you will live forever

I have written you down
Now you will live forever
And all the world will read you
And you will live forever

In eyes not yet created
On tongues that are not born
I have written you down
Now you will live forever

18 January 2021

Music Monday: Sometimes I...Think about Tairneanach

 One part of being a writer that I hate is when I get a whole bunch of words put down on a page, put them away for a bit, and then get them back out to find out that they are not at all what I meant for them to be. I have said before that I identify more with Tairn, a character in the Nature Walker Trilogy than I do with Gin these days which has surprised me. Gin is so good and fair, and she is who I think I would like to be...but I am not. Gin comes out of an incredibly painful and difficult time with her compassion not only intact, but still worn on her sleeve. That is amazing - but not me.

I've pulled out the manuscript for Tairn's book in the upcoming Guardians of Orana series and whooo. I know that I'm my own worst critic but after a certain point that is a steaming pile of disjointed garbage. Ah, the revision stage! But I admit that this time I was not sure how to fix it. It has been so long that I wasn't hearing Tairn's voice like I was before.

And then I heard this song, from a recommendation by a dear friend on social media, and there she was, that sideways grin that means WE ARE IN FOR AN ADVENTURE plastered across her face, pale blue eyes gleaming. I've missed you, Red. Let's get to work.


Sometimes I
by Raising Appalachia

Sometimes I
I feel far
Far away
From my home
And sometimes I
I am lonely but sometimes
I like the way i roam
Sometimes I
I pace forward
I pace back, yeah
Bending, breaking
Tall grass shaking
Beneath my weight yeah yeah

Sometimes I
I get stuck inbetween
Between my love for the jester
Or my love for the queen
Sometimes I
I see your eyes
Across the roof, yeah
Fading, narrow
Bonesharp arrow
Harbouring, yeah

Sometimes I
I am tired of being alone
And I know sometimes I'll be mighty baby
And I'll sit upon your thrown
Knocked me over
Freightrain lover
Chew me up and spin me out
Tiny spout and muddy river
Whisper softer softer

Sometimes I
I need my skin to touch the breeze
And Sometimes I
I found beauty brings me down
Down to my knees
And sometimes I don't know where I am going
And I don't care
And sometimes I need my roots
And sometimes i need my essence
Sometimes I am far away...

11 January 2021

Music Monday: Inspiration

Behind each of my novels is a spark of inspiration. The dogs, of course, are the inspiration for Proud Racer and Clobberpaws. My time gaming and the friends I made there inspired the Nature Walker Trilogy

Rift is no different. Around the same time that I knew I wanted to take a break from the Orana Chronicles and my other projects that had stalled out, a very good friend of mine sent me a link to the video below. Before that, I had a vague idea about getting stuck in the world of the MMORPG that I play, I watched this video, and BAM there was Lex, standing in front of me and encouraging me to write how he felt about Em. 

So thank you, Angel, for inspiring one of the most difficult and interesting novels I've ever written. Also, y'all...this is one of the most beautiful pieces of animation I've seen. Go to YouTube and watch the rest of the chapters in this story, and be prepared for your feels to be hit hard.




Church
by Fall Out Boy

If you were church, I'd get on my knees
Confess my love, I'd know where to be
My sanctuary, you're holy to me
If you were church, I'd get on my knees
I'd get on my knees
I'd get on my knees
I'd get on my knees

And take the pain
Make it billboard big then swallow it for me
Time-capsule for the future
Trust me, that's what I will be
Oh, the things that you do in the name of what you love
You were doomed but just enough
You were doomed but just enough

If you were church, whoo
I'd get on my knees, yeah
Confess my love, I'd know where to be
My sanctuary, you're holy to me
If you were church, yeah, I'd get on my knees
I'd get on my knees, whoo
I'd get on my knees
I'd get on my knees

I love the world but I just don't love the way it makes me feel
Got a few more fake friends
And it's getting hard to know what's real
And if death is the last appointment
Then we're all just sitting in the waiting room
I am just a human trying to avoid my certain doom

If you were church, yeah
I'd get on my knees
Confess my love, I'd know where to be
My sanctuary, you're holy to me
If you were church, yeah, I'd get on my knees
I'd get on my knees, yeah, oh
I'd get on my knees, ah ah ah
I'd get on my knees, yeah
I'd get on my knees
If you were church
I'd get on my knees

Confess my love, I'd know where to be
My sanctuary, you're, you're holy to me, you're holy to me
If you were church, yeah, I'd get on my knees, yeah

07 January 2021

Notes from Exile: Hey, remember 2020?

Photo credit: Phil Roeder
Wow. So, how is everyone doing this morning?

Yesterday was a rough day, by any stretch, for me. It was the first day of a new semester and that always comes with loads of horrifying delightful surprises as my students realize that forty-eleven thousand things are not right with their accommodations and they need to be fixed NOW. 

It was the first day that I actually had to GET UP ON TIME and be presentable, whatever that means in the current Zoom classroom environment. I wrangled the background in and out of a terribly messy incredibly organized guest room and brought it into the office for my interpreting work. The canine chorus sang the song of their people a few times and blocked out my audio. But it all got done, leaving my brain and body a bit battered but overall glad to be back doing what I know how to do.

And then after all of that, I went to the sitting room with my laptop and phone to stretch out on the sofa for a bit and watch something utterly boring but soothing in its routine and standard practice: the certification of the votes from the Presidential election by the joint Houses of Congress. I admit to bit of anxiety over the contentious mood in our nation's capitol concerning the upcoming transfer of power, but ultimately, my PollyAnna soul was certain that it would roll along smoothly as it has done for over two hundred years.

Because we are Americans. We are loud. We are bossy. We are our own worst enemy. But at our very core - I believed, anyway - we are still Americans and sometimes we just need a bit of reminding what that means. We need to remember our history and build on it for our future, and other such platitudes.

Wow. PollyAnna was WRONG. While I am still finding it hard to believe that the people I saw yesterday are at all representative of the majority of people in my country, that was a terrifying display of what can happen when lies and misinformation are allowed to propagate. 

It was also a reminder of how far we have yet to go in terms of law enforcement reform. I stand by my statement yesterday that if any of those on that front line that broke into the building and quickly overwhelmed the Capitol police had been people of color, that would have been over before it started. We all saw the policeman taking selfies with one of the terrorists inside the building. We watched as the terrorist mob was pushed back, finally, out of the building, and then just left, for the most part, to disperse. Left to disperse, after curfew. Left to disperse after curfew on the same streets where unarmed protesters over the summer, hands in the air, were tear-gassed so that the president could walk over to a beloved church and use it for a photo op.

I certainly hope we are not starting as we mean to go on, but make no mistake, when we see something, say something. This can get better. Yesterday saw horrible violence by some gullible puppets of a tyrant, but it also saw an African-American man elected via run-off in a state that created that very run-off requirement as a part of the Jim Crow scourge. We can stand together and against this kind of insurrection and still do the things we need to do to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Your voice will count just as much from six feet away and behind a mask, stopping the spread of yet another kind of virus - the so-called MAGA virus that is turning our country inside out.

Now, off to edit. Poor Tairn. That manuscript is expecting PollyAnna. That is not who I am anymore.


04 January 2021

Music Monday: Well, here we are...

This is going to be a rather personal Music Monday, mainly because I can...but I just needed to talk about this for a second. My uncle died this morning. He had an incredibly long life - he was 93 - and it was full of grace and faithfulness that is sadly lacking in our world today. He was my mom's older brother, and the last of her siblings to die. That's a weird thought in and of itself - I've felt a bit unmoored (thanks to my friend Katy for that term, it is spot on) since 2018 when we lost Dad and this cycle of death, as it has seemed, began. It is worse now because we can't be with loved ones when their time comes. We can't gather afterward to share memories and be sad together. So while I'm sure I've posted this song before, I'm doing it again because I heard it before my uncle passed and thought of him - his strength and his resolve. Hug those you can and talk to those you can't. Life is short.



Little Hercules

Craig Carothers

So you cannot lift a spirit that has turned to lead
Or shine a light in shadow when the batteries are dead
Or fly like a bird over all the works of man
Or always think of the perfect words
But you do the best you can

Nothing seems as easy as it did when you were young
Myths may be invincible, but we are only strong
Strong like a memory, strong like a willow in the wind
Strong as you'll ever be, you will always need to bend

And if you feel the weight of the world
Put your mind at ease
Little Hercules

There are times when being a grown-up gets to be too much
And your sense of humor seems to vanish in the crush
Of the daily 9 to 9 that keeps your family alive
You're just putting in your time
Does anyone really go home at 5?

You've made a life where no one ever tells you what to do
Now the only tyrant that you're working for is you
It's never easy to keep all the promises you make
But no one's gonna get you fired
If you'd just give yourself a brake

And if you feel the weight of the world
Put your mind at ease
Little Hercules
'Cause there's so much on your shoulders
But you know it's a breeze
Little Hercules
Little Hercules

01 January 2021

Music Monday: Start as you mean to go on, right?

Well, Happy New Year! I'm just going to leave this video here, for now, because as I was sitting here pretending to be a writer the other morning, I heard this line from the below song by Elbow and was...struck? Shook? Anyway, it is a yes from me.

"We protect our little fictions/Like it's all we are..."

Start as we mean to go on is much better than a ridiculous list of resolutions that will be left behind before you can hit submit on the post. Let's try that this year, and if they are little fictions or hard truths, we can take them as they come. Who's with me?





Little Fictions
Elbow

A muffled battle cry across the kitchen table
A baffling contretemps that shakes the day unstable
Confessions from the cab, a habit that I got from dad
The flurry of departure in a cyclone of cologne
Would often devastate the gate and hedge
And set our tiny teeth on edge
I see it in me now and pledge
To knock it on the head, that's what I'll do

A muffled battle cry across the kitchen table
Bridges up, portcullis down and round the Tower of Babel
I'm babbling in my dreams of blue berserkers coming at me
Eyes and tongues and rusty knives
And God almighty laughing at me
From a fat boy fishing chair
I wake to find you laughing there
It's nice to know how much you care
Decided I should spend my life with you

We protect our little fictions
Like it's all we are
Little wilderness mementos
But there's only you and me here
Fire breathing
Hold tight
Waiting for the original miracle

I'm trying to focus on the issues of the day please
Your paper's upside down, the radio's in Chinese
These little tremors that are ripping through our rituals
That friction up the interaction
Emanate from quite the greatest
Thing that ever happened to
A pair of boozy bowerbirds like me and you
In other words
The alligator pear inside of you

We protect our little fictions
When we bow to fear
Little wilderness mementos
But there's only you and me here
Fire breathing
Hold tight
Waiting for the original miracle

Fire breathing
Hold tight
Life is the original miracle

Let's get old
Dare you now
Mix blood with me
All in
Love is the original miracle

Let's get old
Dare you now
Mix blood with me
All in
Life is the original miracle

Love is the original miracle

Music Monday: Lang Belta Edition